How Sleep Is Essential For Good Health – Non Refreshing Sleep.
A major symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is non refreshing sleep. What is non refreshing sleep? It’s waking up in the morning feeling as if you haven’t had any sleep and your batteries have not re-charged.
You continue to feel sluggish and your body still has that horrible dragging feeling that it had the day before. You no longer have the simple, enjoyable and satisfactory pleasure of waking up, stretching and thinking ‘aah, that was a great sleep’.
After I recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome, one of the best feelings for me was waking up in the morning refreshed, knowing that my batteries had recharged and I could start my day energetically.
During the many years I was sick, I missed this normal feeling that is taken for granted by most people on waking every morning. You truly don’t understand how sleep is essential for good health until you lose the ability to sleep deeply and restoratively.
Without restorative sleep you experience intense feelings of fatigue all day long, day in and day out.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Not Simply Feeling Tired
Chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers are not simply “tired”. They have a feeling of extreme fatigue and exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep. The fatigue is unrelenting and can be made worse by too much mental or physical activity.
Some people have a higher propensity for physical activity to tire them out. For others, it is mental activity that makes them more exhausted. To recover from too much mental or physical activity it’s important to rest for longer than usual. Sleeping a bit later in the mornings and napping during the day can help get back some energy.
As chronic fatigue syndrome proceeds you may be able to recognize which aspect, mental or physical tires you most. You may be aware of a crash occurring after a long shopping day, walking too far, or a busy day filled with chores without taking time for a rest or a nap in between. These are some physical activities that can tire you out.
Too much work or study, or being in an environment that is filled with noisy chatter can tire you out mentally. Your brain uses a lot of energy so if it is constantly being stimulated it will lead to feelings of fatigue.
Once you pinpoint which activities are causing you to feel most fatigued you can work out how to lessen the time spent on them and avoid a crash. You need to balance your day with the right amount of physical and mental activity that suits you.
Regular Sleep Routines
Sleep difficulties are a frustrating characteristic of chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes there is difficulty falling and staying asleep. Often sufferers wake up routinely during the early hours of the morning with difficulty getting back to sleep again.
At a time when your body requires solid sleep more than ever to recover, it seems impossible. Continually having sleep problems and being sleep deprived can make the other symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome seem worse. Symptoms like pain and brain fog are heightened due to poor sleep quality compounding these already difficult issues.
It is important for your recovery to instill a regular sleep routine. Staying up late, then sleeping late in the morning is not a good habit. Try to be asleep by 10 pm each night to be in tune with the body’s normal adrenal pattern. The adrenal glands get a “second wind” from 11pm to 1am and move into a higher gear making it harder to fall asleep during those later hours.
Being asleep by 10 pm ensures that the adrenals are rested, enabling them to repair. The most regenerative and deep sleep happens between 10 pm and 2am. Ensuring you are asleep by 10pm each night helps your body heal, repair and restore. Try to have at least 8 to 9 hours sleep regularly every night.
Things To Do To Help You Sleep Well
As mentioned, setting a regular bedtime is vital, preferably aim to be asleep by 10 pm each night. Getting a good night’s sleep however starts long before your head hits the pillow. These are some things you can do to ensure you fall asleep and stay asleep all night:
- Remove caffeine – Caffeine is a strong stimulant that pushes your already burnt out adrenals to keep performing past their current depleted ability. Removing caffeine in all forms from your diet will help you get to sleep at night and aid your recovery. If you can’t bear the thought of going cold turkey, start by reducing your intake until you are gradually able to kick the habit. Whilst you are gradually reducing your intake to zero, make sure not to drink any caffeine loaded drinks after lunchtime.
- Reduce stimulatory behavior – Watching TV all night, internet surfing and gaming, or engaging in arguments all stimulate your brain. Quiet reading or listening to soothing music can be helpful activities instead.
- Dim the lights -Humans developed to rise early in the morning with daylight, and sleep as the sun sets. Reduce harsh overhead lighting and use dimmed side lighting (or candle light if you’re in a romantic mood) instead. This is more relaxing and lets your brain know that you are getting ready for sleep.
- Meditation – A regular Yoga Nidra or evening meditation practice can help your mind relax and ready your body for restful sleep. You need to practice it regularly for it to be effective and train your mind to become calm.
- Have a healthy snack before bedtime – Low blood sugar can cause you to wake in the night. Before going to bed have a small low carb/high fat snack such as a couple of nuts or some seeds.
- Restrict fluid intake – If you find you wake during the night needing to pee, finish drinking fluids by 7pm. Your aim is to have a full restful and undisturbed night of sleep.
- Sleep in a dark room – Make sure your bedroom is dark, use block out blinds or curtains to ensure there is no light in the room.
- Electronic equipment – Remove all electronic equipment from your bedroom. This includes TV’s, computers, and mobile phones.
Putting It All Together
Sleep is essential for chronic fatigue sufferers to help them manage their energy and recover from their illness. Setting a regular bedtime and getting 8 to 9 hours sleep each night will help greatly in your recovery.
Understanding your personal mental and physical energy limits is important, manage them on a daily basis and rest or nap when needed during the day.
Use the tips above before bedtime to ensure you can fall asleep and stay asleep for 8 or 9 hours. These habits will assist greatly in allowing your body to rest and recover.
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